If you’re a fan of stories like Georgette Heyer’s and Mary Stewart’s romances, Jane Aiken Hodge’s All For Love should be right up your alley. Featuring a historical setting and context, it follows two cousins, alike enough to be twins, who switch places while one executes a madcap scheme to rescue Napoleon, while preserving her reputation and giving herself an alibi in the form of her cousin’s presence. Of course, it stretches credulity a bit, as all such plots would — but it doesn’t stretch it too far; actually, a fair number of people figure out that Juliet is only impersonating Josephine.
The process of Juliet’s relationship with Josephine’s husband is sweet; the way he carefully provides for her without ever pushing boundaries too much or letting her know that he knows she’s not Josephine, and the way they come to care for each other and refuse to do anything about it, because of course, he’s married to Josephine. Then, of course, someone from Josephine’s past shows up to overturn things once more…
It’s all reliant on heaps of lucky coincidence, of course, and Josephine is such an unpleasant person in some ways that you know, really, how it’s going to end — I never really had any tension that it wasn’t going to work out, though I did find myself wondering how it would work out. The writing isn’t as witty as Heyer’s, nor is there a sense of place evoked as in Stewart’s work, but all the same I got quite invested and very much enjoyed the read.
Oh, and if duels and secret plots entertain you, there’s plenty of that alongside the romance.